You know Chris Guillebeau, right? He’s the founder of The Art of Non-Conformity and he’s taking over the world…literally. His mission is “world domination” – but in the good way. In the “do what you love, make it happen, make life count, be good to others” way. He’s devoted to building an empire of world-changers, and, along the way, travelling the world. Really travelling it. Like, he plans to visit every country on the map before he’s 35.
And oh yes, he just had his first book – aptly called “The Art of Non-Conformity” – published.
That’s a lot of living. That’s serious living and there’s no map for it. Chris Guillebeau has actually invented his thing…
…so how’d he know how to do that – and then have the confidence to do it?
I wanted to know and I thought you’d want to know too, so I asked him.
What’s your thing?
Chris Guillebeau: Well, I don’t have just one thing — it’s a chaotic blend of a few different passions. I love travel and have been on a quest to visit every country in the world for the past four years. I’m a writer and try to publish at least 1,000 words a day in one form or another. I’m an entrepreneur and have never had a job. I go on tour and meet with my readers all over the world, in at least twenty countries a year.
But when you put these things together, I came up with a theme of non-conformity, or helping people to think differently and live unconventional lives. This is my main project that I work on continually.
Was finding your thing the result of a divine revelation, an insane invention, a culmination of insights…or something else?
Chris Guillebeau: Probably “something else.” I love divine revelation stories, but for most of us I think it’s more of a series of steps. I always wanted to be a writer, but I didn’t get serious about it until after I had lived overseas for a while and was turning thirty. I also began traveling quite a bit more then, and the two went together.
Another thing that’s important to mention is that my work wasn’t very good in the beginning. This isn’t false modesty; it’s the reality for almost everyone who pursues a career or even just a passion in some kind of creative work. That’s why it’s so important to keep going and continuously improve yourself. Perhaps the “insane invention” comes about after the 10,000 hours of refining oneself.
Obstacles/fears/doubts – what were they, how’d you vanquish them?
Chris Guillebeau: I still have many of them. I think the goal isn’t so much to vanquish fear, because in some ways fear will always be with you. The goal is to find a way to channel those fears into something positive and motivating. I think a lot about regrets, and when you frame things in terms of looking back later, it becomes easier. Most of us regret the things we haven’t done much more than the things we’ve done.
So I try to make myself jump even when I’m afraid or doubtful, in other words.
What questions did you ask yourself to trigger your a-ha moments…and what signs and milestones should others be looking for in their journeys?
Chris Guillebeau: What do I really want?
How can I make that happen?
What do I need to give up or sacrifice to receive what I really want?
How will my life impact others?
How can I encourage, inspire, or otherwise help others?
Who would I like to be? (What roles would I like to have?)
Is that all? (Usually there’s more… I always push people to go further.)
Regarding signs and milestones, yes, I think it’s important to have markers along the way where you can identify progress. For example, some might say “I’d like to publish a book one day.” This is a great goal, but there are many signs and milestones en route to its culmination. A few would include finding an agent, writing a proposal, pitching to publishers, receiving an offer, completing draft #1, moving to the editing phase, and so on. The more specific you can make your goals, the better — otherwise we tend to get overwhelmed or give up.
You know what I hear in all that wisdom Chris Guillebeau is throwing down? I hear that it’s all incremental. I hear that you get better and better at what you do and clearer and clearer about who you are as you do it.
And that asking yourself what you really want to do – and answering it with action – is essential.
So let’s start there: what do YOU really want to do?